OK, this looks bad. No other team in baseball has managed to amass 34 losses. There is no corner for this team to turn, no rock bottom to hit and bounce back from. So, I guess we look to individual performances to sustain us through the rest of the season.
And there are a few. While we’ve got him, we might as well enjoy every last moment of Manny Machado, who seems to realize that every at bat and play in the field is an opportunity to put money in his pocket, with free agency looming. But there are also some fun games to watch. The O’s poured on 17 runs on Mother’s Day, forcing a position player pitching scenario. If that’s not fun to watch, I don’t know what is. Similarly, the team busted out for nine runs on Thursday. Sure, the loss followed an 11-1 drubbing, but like I said, in order to survive the season, we’re going to need the memory of a goldfish.
Any Given Bunday
It’s nice to know that the Orioles still have a chance to win when Bundy pitches. Bundy had a rough stretch of starts that shook our confidence as to whether he was on the path to being an excellent pitcher, or whether he would be just one in a long line of young starting pitching ruined by the Baltimore Orioles’ pitching development.
On Thursday, Bundy turned in nine full innings, giving up only three runs on two hits. He walked one and struck out 14. Maybe Bundy only went the distance because the bullpen needed a breather. It’s unusual to see an Orioles starter (or any starter in today’s game) rack up 121 pitches in an appearance, but it was a welcome sight.
Adam Jones had himself a heck of a week. Even though our eyes are locked on Manny for the “enjoy this while it lasts” factor, we shouldn’t forget that Adam Jones is in the last year of his contract, and has a very good chance of playing out the last of what has been an excellent Orioles career. Jones’ next at bat will be his 6,000th with the club, joining an elite group of Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray, and Brady Anderson. Don’t look now, but during this great run of not-terrible Orioles Baseball since 2012, Jones has turned in one of the best Orioles careers this generation of fans will have had the opportunity to watch, first hand.
Jones added a other good week, but rather than his 169 wRC+ or the two dongs, I’d like to point out that Jones had a K% of just 9.7. That’s about half his career rate. Jones is locked in right now, and when the team is bad (and it is!), the Cap10 can still be a lot of fun to watch.
The Numbers Game
On Thursday, the Orioles avoided falling 20 games below the .500 mark, in May. Whatever metric you have set up as the test as to whether or not this is a bad club, the Orioles are leaving little question. Not only are they falling hopelessly far away from .500, they’re falling absurdly far behind in the AL Wild Card race. The Orioles – the undisputed worst team in baseball – have the smallest playoff elimination number, at 100. Yes, I am looking at the O’s E# here in May. The season has been that good.
Dan Duquette said he’d need until at least Memorial Day to know whether the team was as bad as it looks (I’m paraphrasing). Well, Memorial Day is right around the corner. And this team is bad. Worst team in baseball bad.
The Chris Davis Situation
The Chris Davis situation is bad news. It’s not just that he’s a shell of his former self, and that he will never get back to his peak performance that netted him a seven-year, $161MM deal. The problem is that Chris Davis does not appear to be a major-league caliber player right now.
To add injury to insult, his effort has come into question recently, with Jim Palmer taking him to task for failing to take advantage of the resources available to him (such as hitting instructor Scott Coolbaugh). Having to deal with Chris Davis being bad is one thing. But having to face the fact that he might be bad and lazy? No bueno.
This has the opportunity to become toxic. If winning fixes everything, losing exacerbates everything. And the Davis situation needs no such treatment. And that just makes me sad. I can’t muster the anger or righteous indignation that Davis may not be giving his all in overcoming the suck he’s fallen into. The only emotions I can come up with are sadness and embarrassment. This Chris Davis thing makes being an Orioles fan embarrassing.
Ain’t baseball great?